Ever wonder why a company goes from no corporate blog to suddenly blogging five days per week? And yes, like us. It’s all about content decay and SEO, and we’re not alone.
Dr. Nora Ganim Barnes, Ph.D., Senior Fellow and Research Co-Chair of the Society for New Communications Research and Director of the Center for Marketing Research at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, published her team’s annual report on adoption of social media by Fortune 500 companies (and has done so since 2008), indicating a sharp increase in the use of corporate blogs. After idling around 20% for three years, it shot up to 34% of the Fortune 500 in the last two years, a nearly 50% increase.
Why? Is everyone suddenly passionate about telling their story? Communicating directly with their target consumers? Looking for direct engagement? Or is it something a bit more prosaic, like bumping up search engine results?
More than one marketing/PR/social media industry observer noted that the practice of putting so much content on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media that is not indexed by search engines results in content decay. And now that we all know that real-time social marketing may shoot up the number of likes and shares in the short term, but that it’s not a viable long-term strategy, what do we do to maximize exposure on owned media?
We develop blogs.
For marketing and PR firms engaged in utilizing social media on behalf of clients, convincing them that Facebook, Twitter, Vine, Instagram, Pinterest, Google+, etc., are simply tools and not destinations is sometimes challenging. With billions of users on Facebook and only occasional visitors to their corporate websites, they often don’t understand why we want to put as much effort into blogging as we do into social media engagement. The best analogy is the hub-and-spoke model: your corporate website is the hub, and your social media presences are the spokes that join at said hub. In other words, you use social media to push people to your website.
Publishing original content on a blog, then promoting it across social channels, drives short-term engagement. You can manage crises, mark milestones, announce news, influence coverage, start conversations, and other ways to gain attention and meet goals. This short-term is REALLY short –because that great thing you put up last week is long gone from followers’ newsfeeds, and that little gem is not indexed by search.
You (or your client) own the blog, and its data-capture functions. Mark Zuckerberg owns everything that happens on Facebook. The website’s blog is indexed by search, and that’s the long-term engagement. As a blog’s archive grows, so does its search value – and its reach.
Look at it this way: Interest generated in the first 24 to 48 hours is driven by social media activity (the initial Facebook post and Tweet, then the subsequent share activity). Activity pretty much flatlines after the second day. At that point, it’s all about search for the…well, forever.
-Kelly Mayfair Owens